A criminal conviction alone will not usually keep Social Security from approving you for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. Likewise, a conviction will not affect your dependents’ or survivors’ benefits. However, if law enforcement sent you to jail or prison, Social Security may suspend your benefits during the time you reside in a correctional facility. For more information on whether you qualify for SSDI if you have a prior criminal conviction, please read on, then contact our experienced New Jersey SSD attorney today.

Can convicted felons receive SSDI?

As stated above, a felony conviction generally does not have an impact on your eligibility for Social Security disability insurance benefits. However, you may encounter a few exceptions to this rule. You may not be eligible for Social Security disability insurance if:

  • Your disability arose, or got worse, while you were committing a crime
  • Your disability arose, or got worse, while you were imprisoned in a jail, prison or correctional facility for a felony conviction, or
  • You made yourself a widow(er) or an orphan by killing your spouse or parents (this applies to Social Security disability insurance survivor benefits)

Nonetheless, it is still worthwhile to apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits even if one of the above-listed situations applies to you. Even though you will not receive cash benefits, Social Security may grant you a period of disability that will “freeze” your earnings record, which can prevent your benefits from decreasing because of the time you are off work.

How does incarceration affect your SSDI benefits?

Social Security will not pay benefits to those who are confined in a jail, prison or other penal institution, for either a felony or a misdemeanor. Because the facility is meeting your food, shelter and medical needs during periods of imprisonment, you are not eligible for benefits while you remain incarcerated – unless you participate in an approved vocational rehabilitation program, i.e. a program that helps you return to work upon your release.

When will your Social Security disability benefits stop during the criminal law process?

Typically, your insurance company will suspend your Social Security disability benefits after thirty days of incarceration, unless you participate in a rehabilitation program. Your insurance will usually reinstate your benefits the month following your release.

Please bear in mind that Social Security will not pay benefits to people who flee to avoid arrest or prosecution or escape to avoid jail or prison.

Speak with Sheryl Gandel Mazur, Esq. to discuss your eligibility and begin preparing your case.

Contact a skilled New Jersey SSD Lawyer Today

With over thirty years of experience serving the entire state, our firm has the ability to help you with any SSD matter. Contact The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur for a free case evaluation.